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SYFY WIRE Quantum Leap

Sci-fi legend Ernie Hudson on what makes 'Quantum Leap' & 'Ghostbusters' franchises so special

"This show, like Ghostbusters, crosses generations."

By Josh Weiss
(l-r) Ernie Hudson as Herbert "Magic" Williams, Nanrisa Lee as Jenn, Mason Alexander Park as Ian, Caitlin Bassett as Addison

Ernie Hudson is moving out of the spiritual extermination business and into the booming time travel industry with NBC's upcoming television reboot of Quantum Leap, which will make its world premiere this fall. Hudson — who became an immortal genre icon as Winston Zeddemore in the blockbuster Ghostbusters films — understands the immense responsibility of taking part in a beloved franchise that continues to resonate with audiences around the world.

"I think this show, like Ghostbusters, crosses generations," the actor told SYFY WIRE during NBCUniversal's Upfront event Monday morning. "What I love about Ghostbusters is grandparents watch it with their little grandkids and everybody finds something to laugh about and try to figure out. This show ... a lot of people tell me they’ve watched it with their dads or [what have you]. This is the kind of show that crosses generations and it’s shown that it stands up to that reason."

For Quantum Leap, Hudson steps into the shoes of Herbert "Magic" Williams, a Vietnam War vet and longtime member of the titular experiment. When lead physicist Dr. Ben Seong (Raymond Lee) goes missing in the time-space continuum, Williams uses all of his cunning to keep the government at bay while the team tries to bring their project leader home. The first episode finds Ben jumping back to San Francisco, circa 1989 (the same year QL first premiered).

"Sci-fi is so important to me. I think if you look at all the modern advances and all that — in my mind — [they] came from sci-fi on some level," Hudson explained. "And this is really an important show in the sense that it sorts of opened the idea of not just time travel, but how we’re connected in that oneness. I can be in your world and experience what you’re going through and…just how the world comes together in a really special way. This show did that in a very and special way. So to get the chance to come back and to broaden that idea is really, really exciting."

Nanrisa Lee (Bosch), Mason Alexander Park (Cowboy Bebop), and newcomer Caitlin Bassett as Addison co-star in the new Quantum Leap arrives on NBC this fall after the Season 22 opener of The Voice. God Friended Me and La Brea alums Steven Lilien and Bryan Wynbrandt serve as co-showrunners. They are also executive producers alongside original Quantum Leap creator Don Bellisario and the OG voice of Ziggy, Deborah Platt.

In the meantime, the original Quantum Leap series is airing Fridays this summer on SYFY as part of SYFY Rewind.

Additional reporting by Stephanie Gomulka.